This I Believe… Whatever I Want 

I do not believe in God. I don’t believe in the traditional Heaven or Hell. I grew up with a Catholic dad and Protestant mom. For years I went to CCD and would occasionally attend church. But the stories I was told never sat well with me.  

Then, somewhere, I heard someone say you can believe whatever you want. So, I did. I do not conform to any of the traditional religions. My beliefs are made up of the things I find comfort in. I do not believe that everything happens for a reason. I can’t. Otherwise, I would crumble under the weight of my past and the trauma I hold close to my heart.  

I believe that the universe has a way of rewarding and punishing people based on your own inner thoughts and feelings. I believe that a person, in their heart, knows whether they have done the right thing or not and will ultimately be the judge of their own eternal life. After you die, you will know deep down if you deserve to live in your ideal life or be punished living in your own “Hell.” Or maybe it’s somewhere in between.  

Years ago, when I shared my thoughts with my father, I thought he would tell me he didn’t care and that I could believe what I wanted. But instead, he said something that shocked me. He allowed me to be my own person all my life. Assured me that I would be accepted whether I was straight or gay, male or female, anything. But in this moment, he told me he felt as though he had failed. This was and still is the only time I truly felt I had disappointed a parent. Because through all my life experiences: failing classes, lying or breaking rules, arguing with family, I always knew they still loved me for me. Though my father wasn’t a devout Christian who would regularly attend Church, he still believed in God and all the things that came with. To learn that his daughter didn’t share his beliefs, I imagine he was disappointed.  

At this point I had few options. I could lie and tell him I do believe in God, or I could stick to my guns. Because my parents raised me to be a strong woman, I chose the latter. I told him that I love him, and this is how I feel. This is not something that will change. Because I am my own person. A person I knew that once he got out of his own head about his so called “failure,” he would be proud of. This is me, and this I believe.